The following essay by Ubangoh Thursie Abanjoh- an 18 year old studying for a degree in Management at the Catholic University of Cameroon, Bamenda – won the 1st Prize (of 100.000 FCFA) of the 2016 Sama Randy Youth Write Essay Competition.
Let’s know what you think of this prize winning essay!
Can Cameroonians Entrepreneur their way a brighter future? Why and why not
Essay by Ubangoh Thursie Abanjoh
The root of most successful economies in the world is business. The word entrepreneurship means “to undertake.” In a business context, it means to start a business. Thus entrepreneurship can be defined in simple terms as the ability and willingness to develop, organize and manage a business venture along with any of its risks in order to make a profit. Entrepreneurial spirit is made up of innovation and risk taking. This is very essential for the growth of an economy given that the world is a global village. Given the economic situation of Cameroon, it causes one to ponder whether Cameroonians can entrepreneur their way into a brighter future. Is this possible?
Firstly, entrepreneurship or otherwise, business entities contribute to national employment. Entrepreneurship does not only create employment to the business owner but also to those who participate in the business such as the employees. This goes a long way to improve the standards of living of the employees through their income. When members of an economy have a high living standard, that economy is said to be prospering. Therefore, Cameroonians can entrepreneur their way into a brighter future as a result of improvement in living standards.
Secondly, entrepreneurship increases the national income of an economy. Businesses can help increase national income through the taxes they pay to the government and also, they attract foreign capital investment which increases productivity and value addition in the economy thus increasing national income through finances raised. This increment in national income will lead to an increase in economic development like increased government investment on health, roads and education. One can say therefore that, Cameroonians can secure a bright future through entrepreneurship as a result of the increase in national income it brings.
Furthermore, entrepreneurship calls for more entrepreneurship and its benefits alongside it. Cameroon is a dynamic society and the entrepreneurial spirit spreads like a chain of reaction. Once a few Cameroonians create their own business entities and are successful, others are attracted to create theirs. Examples of existing enterprises which have acted as an inspiration and continues to inspire other Cameroonians to become entrepreneurs are Fokou ltd, Guarantee express ltd and Kendely Construction Company just to name a few. Thus once people are inspired and begin to create their own business, so does the benefits of entrepreneurship follow. Therefore, once the entrepreneurial spirit continues to grow along with its benefits, so does the Cameroonian future become brighter and better.
Finally, entrepreneurship does not only bring economic development indirectly through the government, but they also have a direct social impact in the economy through creating and participating in entrepreneurial networks, investing in community projects, and giving to local charities. This thus supports the members of the society psychologically and financially. Therefore, through this social impact, entrepreneurship is able to help better the lives of members of the society through the various investments in community projects like water, health or local road projects thus societal development. Therefore, one can say that, entrepreneurship can help Cameroonians pave a way for a brighter future.
Though, the benefits of entrepreneurship can help Cameroonians gain grounds on a brighter future, there are some things or situations that if not handled, will prevent Cameroonians from securing a bright future for them through entrepreneurship. So, what could be these issues retarding entrepreneurial growth?
Firstly, copyright, patents, and trade mark violations is a threat to entrepreneurship in Cameroon today. People use their efforts and creativity to come up with ideas maybe the discovery of new products, writing of inspiring articles, or creation of a successful brand and others just wait to copy and use these ideas. This goes a long way to reduce the benefits the author of these ideas have on them. This thus discourages most aspiring entrepreneurs as they feel that before they start benefiting from their investments, someone starts reaping them as a result of these copyright, patents and trade mark violations. Thus, since Cameroonians are discouraged to invest in business entities, it is difficult for them to entrepreneur their way into a bright future.
Secondly, inadequate sources of finances have prevented most Cameroonians from putting their entrepreneurial ideas into reality. The foundation of every business is capital. But not everyone has access to capital. There are few investment banks and entrepreneurial support agencies in Cameroon. Also, the banks and microfinance’s give most loans on strict terms and high interest rates which the investor cannot cover. Thus making it difficult for aspiring entrepreneurs to finance their business. Also, those who have little finances are discouraged by the over beaurocracy in creating businesses in Cameroon which open ways for over expenditure and corruption in starting a business. Thus, since Cameroonians are unable to finance the creation of business, it is thus if not difficult, it is nearly impossible for them to secure a bright future through entrepreneurship.
Finally, education that encourages entrepreneurship is a good footing for business creation in Cameroon. But unfortunately, the education system in Cameroon does not adequately encourage entrepreneurship. The educational system in Cameroon is mostly the general education which orientates Cameroonians more towards having white collar jobs. Little emphasis is done in the professional education system in Cameroon. About 70% of schools in Cameroon are in general education and only 30% of the schools are engaged in professional education. Therefore, most of the Cameroonians are not bred educationally in the entrepreneurial spirit and skills. Thus, very few Cameroonians are willing and able to become future entrepreneurs. One can say that, since most Cameroonians have little expertise and knowledge on entrepreneurship as a result of their educational system, it is therefore difficult for them to entrepreneur their way into a bright future.
In conclusion, one can say that, since there is the possibility for Cameroonians to build a firm foundation for a bright future through entrepreneurship, if the few barriers to these successes are removed through the encouragement of professional education in the country by the government, increase support for entrepreneurship through increased availability of finance for aspiring entrepreneurs, also the government can harden the laws on copyright, patent and trade mark protection and also reduce the beaurocracy in creating a business. Once the various threats to entrepreneurship are curbed, entrepreneurship will prosper in the country and thus, Cameroonians will be able to entrepreneur their way into a brighter future.
Below is a brief interview with the 1st Prize winner Thursie!